Mirror Neurons, part of the brain which fires when we watch some else move, have been linked to autism because of their role in empathy. The University of California, San Diego, USA has been doing further research by monitoring brain waves of people with high-functioning autism. From the press release:
“The EEG data was analyzed for mu rhythm suppression. Mu rhythm, a human brain-wave pattern, is suppressed or blocked when the brain is engaged in doing, seeing or imagining action, and correlates with the activity of the mirror neuron system. In most people, the mu wave is suppressed both in response to their own movement and to observing the movement of others.
Subjects were tested while they moved their own hands and while they watched videos of visual white noise (baseline), of bouncing balls (non-biologic motion) and of a moving hand.
As expected, mu wave suppression was recorded in the control subjects both when they moved and when they watched another human move. In other words, their mirror neuron systems acted normally. The mirror neurons of the subjects with autism spectrum disorders, however, responded anomalously – only to their own movement.”
Previous coverage on Myomancy.com:
March 11, 2005 Mirror Neuron System and Autism